It’s been almost nine months since Boy in Black said to me, “I need to go to the doctor's.”
He’d been playing Ultimate Frisbee all summer, and he was the kind of player you’d notice on the field – running, leaping, moving directions quickly. He’s also the type to play through pain, so when he started sitting out, or at least handling instead of cutting, I knew he had to be really hurting.
His injury was diagnosed as a pulled groin – something that would simply get better with time. So he stopped playing, hoping that rest would heal him.
But it didn’t. And for nine months, Boy in Black has gone back for repeated doctor visits. He didn’t snowboard last winter, or run, or play Ultimate. He’s been to several rounds of physical therapy, although he’s had to fight the insurance company every time. He’s had an MRI. He’s had X-rays. At one point, he took antibiotics, with the theory that an infection had developed. Nothing has helped. He ended up sitting out of Ultimate – a sport he loves – for his whole junior year of college. He still went to every practice, but he simply couldn’t play.
Most recently, an orthopedic doctor diagnosed the injury as osteitis pubis, an inflamed pubic bone and sent him for a bone scan that involved him taking radioactive isotopes. We were relieved to at least have some kind of diagnosis.
But the bone scan came back negative. That means no one is really sure what’s wrong with him. The theory now is that there is still some kind of strained abdominal muscle -- or perhaps a sports hernia. He and the doctor are fighting the insurance company to get him more physical therapy.
He knows that he still has a very privileged life – he can walk, even if he can’t run or jump or snowboard. He’s been in pain, but many people live with things far worse. He’s got a brilliant mind, a close family, great friends, and all kinds of advantages that most people don’t.
But still. Boy in Black is an intense young man, and he has devoted himself to the sport of Ultimate. His passion is so contagious that all his siblings and our extras now play Ultimate, and even his parents will join in for pick-up games. His life still revolves around Ultimate – he drives his brothers to Spring League and coaches from the sidelines. When he stays up late at night, he watches youtube clips of Ultimate games. When he hangs out in the living room talking, he throws a disc back and forth constantly.
All we’ve talked about for the last nine months is Boy in Black’s groin. Seriously, he’ll walk in the door, and I’ll say, “How’s your groin today?” It’s amazing how quickly that conversation felt normal. All of us in the household want desperately for him to recover. Because despite how much he jokes around – and believe me, I’ve heard every groin joke possible – it’s obvious to anyone who looks at Boy in Black’s face that he is feeling just miserable. He’s not a little boy any more, he’s a mature adult, but even so, watching him be so down all year has been very tough to watch. It’s frustrating that we don’t know when or how this saga will end.